I went into watching the Patriots/Bears game fearing Tom Brady, but thinking the Bears could hold their own due to the following reasons:
- The Bears have an excellent defense.
- The Patriots have a suspect defense.
- The Bears were able to contain Michael Vick, so logicially they should be able to keep Brady in check.
- The weather was rugged--nine degrees with the wind chill, and snowing all game--and that suggests a low scoring affair, and that usually points to defense.
All four points proved to be wrong, as the Bears were trounced soundly: their worst game since the Giants spanked them in late September.
I still feel the Bears are a good team. Maybe not a championship team this year, but a playoff team and one with a nice foundation for next year, which is a pretty normal path of improvement for any sports team.
I think they can beat the Packers again, and the Vikings, and I think they are a more disciplined team than the Jets, whom they play in two weeks on Boxing Day.
Those same Jets that Brady completely shredded last Monday.
I do think that the difference between the Jets and the Pats is indeed discipline, for like it or not, the Pats are seemingly a better organized and coached team than the Jets, who have a lot of talented players, but are much less a machine. Apparently, the Bears are not much more of a mechanical wonder than the Jets, however.
More important in the equation is the Patriots are just really really good, and improving at that. Their defense is coalescing, and Brady is too cool, and he knows how to use his weapons more effectively than anyone else. Including Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Matt Ryan. He is even more dangerous than Michael Vick, which is saying a lot.
This is indeed the time a team wants to really be going into full stride, pushing towards the post-season, and it is a fine line, as peaking too soon--as we learned perhaps last year from the Colts--means disappointment. In fact, the Bears losing is probably not such a bad thing since there are three more weeks left in the regular season, and then three more potential weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
I will still root for the Bears all right.
But, the Patriots, in this chaotic season, when the Lions can beat the Packers and the Dolphins can beat the Jets, when the latter teams are bound for the playoffs, are the money team right now. Parity, wonderful parity, or not.